Organized Panel Session
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Western notion of “realism” was embraced as an aesthetic principle by Japanese artists of multiple forms of representation. Frederic Jameson has argued that oppositional forms in nineteenth century realist novels establish an “affective present” while also evoking other temporalities. Continuing the conversation with Jameson, our panel considers the “affective present” as a metaphor for the temporality of lyric, and explores the relationship between lyric and representations of motion in early twentieth century Japanese poetry, film, and prose. Each paper examines a text that uses modes of lyric expression to set affect and feeling into temporal and spatial motion, producing disruptions in form that Jameson associates with realism.
Nicholas Albertson's paper examines how poems by Hagiwara Sakutarō and Kitahara Hakushū in the 1910s-1920s exploit multiple perspectives and temporalities in order to fracture the subjective and narrative coherence of modern travel. In her paper, Junko Yamazaki examines how the protagonist’s wandering through landscape in Inagaki Hiroshi’s film Mabuta no haha (1931) produces affective bonds between the protagonist and the audience, evoking the aesthetic category of “lyricism” in 1920s-1930s film criticism. Matthew Mewhinney’s paper examines how the lyric poems in Nagai Kafū’s novella A Strange Tale from the East River (1937) set multiple temporalities into a state of simultaneity, preventing the text from reaching narrative fulfillment.
The panel expands the current discourse about Japanese realism by considering how lyric as a form, genre, and mode can represent the fractured subjectivity associated with modern experience.